The Power of Integration and Collaboration in Providing Career Training to an Organization

By Mark Danaher and Constance J. Pritchard

A group of professionals including employment specialists, career advisors, labor program specialists, career development specialists, and school counselors were recently trained in career development competencies to help them be successful in working with their target populations. A unique collaboration of the state labor and education departments and a focus on integrating training activities into daily work, allowed this to be beneficial to the professionals, their clients, and ultimately the future of the state.

NCDA members and Master Trainers, Dr. Constance Pritchard and Mark Danaher were asked to provide the Facilitating Career Development (FCD) and School Career Development Advisor (SCDA) training in South Dakota. Kendra Ringstmeyer, Director of Workforce Development for South Dakota’s Department of Labor and Regulations selected NCDA to train professionals across South Dakota who work in the Department of Labor and Regulations and the Department of Education. The training focus was on providing career development and integrated activities to help the professionals be successful in working with their clients - potentially an ideal goal for any organization.

The Program and the Process

The training was a combination of the Facilitating Career Development (FCD) and the School Career Development Advisor (SCDA) programs developed by the National Career Development Association (NCDA).  The “NCDA FCD training provides individuals with relevant skills and knowledge to assist others in planning careers and obtaining meaningful work” (NCDA, n.d.-a, para. 1). FCD training is a total of 120 hours (including 24 hours face-to-face) of instruction utilizing the 12 career competencies.  The “School Career Development Advisor training is designed for providers who work in many settings and who help prepare students for meaningful work in managing their careers” (NCDA, n.d.-b, para.1) The SCDA training is a total of 40 hours with seven hours of face-to-face instruction utilizing the 12 career competencies. By combining these two, the trainers were able to provide a solid understanding of career development that included a variety of relevant topics such as helping skills, ethics, group work, assessments, training and leading groups, theory, program management, business relations, and understanding the K-12 arena.

Photo By Compare Fibre On Unsplash

As with any training, it is important to engage the participants throughout the time they are together. The training was conducted as a hybrid setup in which the professionals spent the first part of the training online, utilizing a learning management platform called Moodle. Here they completed their journal entries and forum discussions and respond to one another to provide feedback and insights into their work. The Moodle site was set up by the trainers to provide numerous resources, exercises, and videos to further participants' learning and build their toolbox. In addition, students met weekly with the trainers on Zoom to complete their face-to-face hours. Each time that they met on Zoom, the goal was to provide interactive and applied learning so participants could apply what was happening in the reading and discussions to their current role and situations.  The Zoom meetings utilized breakout room for small group learning along with large activities and instruction in the main Zoom room.

Applications to Daily Work

The Facilitating Career Development and School Career Development Advisor training are unique in their teaching and activities that have the participants applying what they learn to their current work roles while in training. The benefits of taking the FCD and SCDA training are the assignments where integrated learning occurs throughout the course. Participants were instructed to create a career program utilizing the 12 steps outlined in chapter 9 titled “Designing and Implementing Career Planning Services” along with information from chapter 2 titled “Training and Leading Groups.” After completing this assignment, participants could implement the plan into their work settings.  Examples of the programs participants created focused on soft skills, job shadowing, mock interviewing and a work-based learning program.  The programs were shared online so all participants had access to others' work which would increase everyone's tools and ideas to use with clients. The greatest benefit was to the youth and young adults of South Dakota who receive services provided by the Department of Labor and Regulations and the Department of Education.

Another helpful activity that was completed by the participants was the elevator pitch. The objective of the pitch is to create a 60 to 90 second talk to engage a businessperson or an important stakeholder to build trust and credibility. Participants in the training had to decide who they wanted to engage and to research that business or person to obtain a better understanding of what their responsibilities are and the population they serve. After the pitch was created, it was then shared with the trainers and other participants through a forum discussion. This allowed the creators to receive feedback to improve the pitch. Once this activity was completed, the participants could use the pitch to engage a local business or stakeholder to make a connection and potential partnership with an agency to help young adults along their career path.

Impacting Professionals' Current Work and Competencies

The best benefit of the FCD and SCDA training is the impact on the professional development and activities of the participants. The information, exercises, and activities completed during the course are integrated within the roles of the participants to support their clients with career exploration and career pathways to achieve future success. Upon completing the training, the participants are able to apply and earn international credentials to showcase their competencies.  The FCD training allows the participant the opportunity to apply for the Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP) credential through NCDA. “This credential is intended for providers to offer career services in an array of roles and settings” (NCDA, n.d.-c, para.1). Also, by taking both the FCD and SCDA training, the participant may apply for the Certified School Career Development Advisor (CSCDA) credential from NCDA. “This credential is intended for providers who work with youth in many settings and help prepare students for meaningful work in managing their careers“ (NCDA, n.d.-d, para.1). Holding credentials helps these professionals stand out from others for their individual qualifications and professional competency in career development.

Benefiting Young Adults' Future

With the power of collaboration and integration of the training, the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulations and Department of Education were able to receive training in career development that will help their professionals build more career opportunities and greater success for young adults throughout the state.



NCDA. (n.d.-a). Facilitating Career Development. https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/facilitator_overview

NCDA. (n.d.-b). School Career Development Advisor. https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/scda

NCDA. (n.d.-c). Certified Career Services Provider. https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/credentialing_ccsp

NCDA. (n.d.-d). Certified School Career Development Advisor. https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/credentialing_cscda


Mark DanaherMark Danaher, CCSP, CSCDA, GCDF, LPC, BCC, JCTC, JCDC, is the founder of Mark Danaher Training and Coaching (www.markdanaher.com). He helps professionals make a career change from the work they hate to the work they will love. Mark has been a career counselor and coach for over 25 years helping professionals connect the dots to reduce stress, regain balance, and thrive in their life and career. Through his private coaching practice, Mark presents workshops and training for career professionals, universities, businesses, and organizations thought out the United States. His commitment is to help people find the work and life they love and deserve. He has a passion to for helping people reinvent themselves to be ready for their next adventure.  Mark has been awarded the NCDA Fellows award which is one of the highest honors based on his work in career development. He can be reached at mdanaher@gmail.com


Connie PritchardDr. Constance J. Pritchard, CCSP, CMCS, GCDF, is well known for her work in leadership, business consulting, and career development. Representative clients of The Pritchard Group include international and national businesses and agencies in the private and public sector. The Pritchard Group, Inc. serves clients in face to face consultation and trainings as well as through her corporate elearning site. She is a keynoter with businesses and frequent presenter at professional conferences  She has developed curriculum,served as an associate editor for a publication on the delivery of career services globally, and authored a chapter on Career Assessments in Business for NCDA’s A Comprehensive Guide to Career Assessment. Projects and programs under her direction have been recognized nationally for outstanding service. Her dissertation research on small business also gained national accolades. Dr. Pritchard has been recognized as a Master Trainer and an NCDA Fellow for outstanding contributions to the field of career development. Dr. Connie has earned a doctorate in education from the University of South Carolina (with a specialty in career management) and a Master’s degree in linguistics.  She can be reached at doctor@pritchardgroup.com

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Deneen Pennington   on Monday 10/04/2021 at 10:01 AM

Thank you for representing NCDA to this important client! They are considering more training for other divisions based on their experience with you. I appreciate your efforts.

Cynthia Scanlon   on Monday 10/04/2021 at 09:48 PM

Excellent job Connie and Mark!!!

Jim Peacock   on Tuesday 10/05/2021 at 12:09 PM

So many great practical activities in this program. I love the elevator pitch exercise to practice what they will say to businesses.

Mark Danaher   on Tuesday 10/05/2021 at 05:40 PM

Thank you! It was a great experience providing training for South Dakota. Connie and I were an excellent team bringing different strengths to the teaching and training. They have a wonderful group of professionals committed to helping the youth and young adults to find career success.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.